"Visiting Accident & Emergency"

About: St Peter's Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

Was called to go to St. Peter's A&E as my father was ill at about 9: 30 on a cold Monday in December. On arrival it was very clear that the department was very busy and that was still the case when I left at 1am. Although I was only there for about three hours it was very clear that the department was struggling to cope with the large number of patients. but to their credit the staff seemed to be able to cope with the work and still stay calm and focussed.

Most of the staff we met were very good but the one thing that struck me most of all was the wide variety in social skills between different staff. For example a medic called Imran and the junior surgical doctor (female) were both very pleasant and smiled and talked to you. On the other hand the surgical registrar(? ) effectively ignored us and carried on with almost no awareness that we were present - albeit that he did seem to sort out the problem so perhaps being focussed helps.

The other really obvious example of poor communication was in the minors area where both the doctor and nurse barked out the patients name rather than saying "Mr Smith, please" or something similar. If you weren't paying attention it would be very easy to miss being called and I wouldnt particularly want to respond to my name being called out in this way.

Finally can the taxi hot-line please have a phone that allows you to actually hear the other end?

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Response from Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

Thank you for your comments. As you mention, we were extremely busy on the day in question and trying to deal with a very high demand for inpatient beds. Thank you for your kind comments about the staff, they are much appreciated and have been passed onto the team working that night.

We apologise for the difficulties you encountered around poor communication and whilst it is very important that our doctors remain focused (and this will sometimes mean they really need to concentrate on the job in hand) good communication with patients and relatives is still vital. You should have been kept informed and we apologise if this was not the case.

We have also addressed the point you raised about our staff in Minors and asked them to go out into the Waiting Room and not to shout out as they did. This will ensure patients do not miss their turn.

We have asked our telecoms engineer to inspect our taxi free-phone to see if it needs repairing so thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Thank you for your comments and we hope your father has now recovered.

Update posted by IanM (a relative)

Thank you for your very helpful response and the changes you have made.

Sadly my father passed away a couple of days later on May Ward. All the staff on May Ward were fantastic but I would particularly to mention Shaun who was around on the Monday and was particularly kind and helpful.

Response from Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We are very sorry to hear that your father passed away and our thoughts are with your family.

Thank you for mentioning the staff on May Ward. We will pass your kind words on.